09/06/2015 8:26 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Warriors To Entrepreneurs: The Story Of Bhil Women


Sasili, a Bhil woman of Bhabra, Madhya Pradesh was one of the first in her hometown to realise the effects of climate change on her crops when the local doctor diagnosed that her one year old child was malnourished. He advised her to provide her child with vegetables, however, her income was insufficient to give the child the food he needed. Their crops had been ruined by the early rains.

Sasili feared for her child's health and approached Prayas, a voluntary development organisation who advised her to cultivate vegetables on one-third of her land. Milaap, a mission-driven crowdfunding platform partnered with Prayas to provide loans to aspiring women entrepreneurs such as Sisili to make her fight for survival come to fruition.

The world outside is advancing with unimaginable rapidity. But there remain pockets across India inhabited by local agriculturists like the Bhil in the hills of Bhabra who have stayed far away from the country's race for development, yet they have had to bear the brunt of climate change. Their symbiotic relationship with nature is threatened. The only hope is for them to get back to their roots and bring out their ancestral warrior spirit and fight against the odds.

Untangling the Roots of Starvation


Sasili, a Bhil now gets good profits from her land.

With the help and direction of Prayas, Sasili managed to cultivate vegetables. She reaped profits and, more importantly, her child's health improved. The fresh produce from farms such as her's was met with great demand and this slowly turned their lives around. The younger generation of the Bhil clan now receives education and mothers like Sasili are no longer apprehensive about their child's future.


Bhil children now receives good education.

From Homemaker to Entrepreneur


Anjub Shahid's sewing enterprise is a success now.

W.E.B Du Bois once said, "In this world, there is no force equal to the strength of a woman determined to rise."

Anjub Shahid a fellow Bhabra native, transformed her life from a homemaker to entrepreneur. Anjub made her passion for sewing her living. With her first loan she purchased a sewing machine. Orders poured in and soon she became an employer taking in other Bhil women to support her growing small business. She now plans to extend her enterprise to provide jobs for many more Bhil women.

The Bhil Weavers


Bhil handicrafts have found good markets across the country.

The Bhils possess inherent weaving skills and weave intricate handicrafts, yet they stayed poor as they couldn't find markets for their products. Prayas partnered with Milaap to help these Bhil artisan families find a market for their hand-woven baskets providing them with a steady demand and enabling these artisans to start their own business.

The warrior spirit is very much alive in these Bhil women as they strive towards a better livelihood, no longer bound by the shackles of poverty or starvation. They are our Bhil Entrepreneurs.

Prayas and Milaap have joined hands to empower many like Sasili and have helped them receive micro loans crowdfunded by donors around the world.

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